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Orange & almond mini madeleines

Combine the eggs and caster sugar by whisking in a stand mixer for roughly 5 minutes or until it has gone slightly stiff in consistency.

While the eggs are whisking, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl; the flour, ground almond, baking powder, zest of the orange, and a pinch of salt and stir through.

The butter needs to be slightly soft so a quick blast in the microwave usually does it, just warmed enough so that it can be stirred in but not hot.

Now you have 3 bowls and are ready for the crucial part that will determine the success of the finished result. Combining them!

Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture, using a spatular to fold and cut through. It is important not to over do this. When the last bits of visible flour disappear into the mixture continue the same process adding the flour in quarters; make as fewer movements as possible so as not to knock the air out.

Lastly, add the butter mixture in quarters, repeating the same process of folding in until just mixed before adding the next until all is combined.
Leave the batter in the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours or over night to make in the morning.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Take your madeleine tray, for this recipe I have used a mini madeleine tray, cover the indents lightly with butter and then dust with flour, removing any excess with a good tap.

After resting the mixture, it will be stiff and so easy to spoon into the madeleine shaped moulds. The mixture should fill the tray dimples so that they will not over flow; when they cook they soften and spread out. Try not to knock the air out whilst spooning the mixture.

Place in the oven for 8-9 minutes or until just starting to brown. Turn out onto a cooling rack, let cool a few minutes then dust with icing sugar and eat immediately whilst still warm!

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I have cooked madeleines countless times and there are so many things that can go wrong for such a seemingly innocent bite sized treat; provided that you have been careful not to knock the air pockets out when mixing and you have allowed time for the mixture to rest, you fill not go far wrong. The final hurdle is filling the tray with the right amount of mixture, the compromise of enough to ensure a nice little dimple but not too much so as your mixture spills out over the sides when baking.

What I have found is that the smaller moulds are, the less forgiving they are. The mixture softens and spreads out before it rises and takes on the sponge texture. The more traditional sized moulds seem to allow you to over fill a little more before over spilling, so it is an idea to take this into account. This might just be something that I have been experiencing on my own but is worth experimenting for yourself.

Morning snacks!

These really are a great little accompaniment to a breakfast, brunch or even a mid morning cup of coffee. More recently I have strayed away from the traditional lemon and vanilla, which I have made so often. I have tried a few different variations but this is the first one that I would consider making instead. Lots more flavour combinations to experiment with so there may be another recipe up soon!

dscf4503
Exmoor, Devon
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